Genius Loci is about the need of human beings to revisit their origins and forgotten roots. I wanted to investigate and express the pleasure and pride of embracing who we are and where we come from in the first place. This collection is about the curiosity and fascination my generation has for vernacular cultures and local heritage, in a globalized world in which minority groups are at risk of losing their specific traditions, oral expressions, crafts and ritual practices.
To translate my interest in this global issue through contemporary design, I have imagined the wardrobe of an explorer who is out to find and conquer his own El Dorado, whilst getting lost on an inner self journey where he transitions from foreigner to local. My collection narrates the journey of this explorer and his discovery of a foreign land where he encounters Genius Loci, the protective spirit of that place. To depict this story, I drew inspiration from 16th century’s Spanish and Portuguese Conquistadors who sailed miles away from Europe seeking to find unknown marvels hidden in the “New World”. As for the Genius who inhabits the place, I chose Curupira, a mystic figure of Brazilian folklore. Curupira is a little boy whose hair is red like fire, whose feet are turned backwards and whose main job is to care of the fauna and flora while making fun of those who try to harm it. Upon encountering Curupira, the Genius Loci, the explorer realises that El Dorado was never found before because “it’s not down in any map, true places never are”.
GENIUS LOCI TEAM
Photographer: Wei-wei Chen
Designer: Amanda Augusto Castanho
Stylist/Video: Morgan Kim
Makeup Artist: Omérine Parrain
Assistant: Ashley Jung
Embroidery Assistant: Sanjana Ghosh
Models: Ismael Souare, Lucas Serras @ MManagement & Shaen Sellam